Loving Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Companion and Friend to all, passed away peacefully at her home on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, surrounded by her family.
Born December 28, 1932, in Baltimore, Maryland, Nancy was a long-time resident of the Lansing area.
Nancy grew up in the Cincinnati area and attended Wyoming High School, Class of 1950. Nancy used to love to explain how small her high school was, “There were 25 girls and 25 boys, we had to play every sport, or they’d cancel the program.” She was a cheerleader, a basketball player, member of the debate team and the forensics team. High School was where she developed her love of competition, poetry, history and her appetite for reading multiple books a week simultaneously.
She attended the University of Cincinnati on an academic scholarship majoring in history. Nancy was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. Nancy, always competitive, earned her membership into the Phi Beta Kappa Society by making the Deans’ List 7 of 8 semesters.
One of Nancy’s biggest highlights of her time in college was when she was selected to be on the game show, “Break the Bank.” She won $100 dollars by answering the following question: “Who was the only bachelor ever to be elected the President of the United States?” She promptly replied, “James Buchanan” and then quipped on-air, “It’s probably the only time history has come in handy thus far.”
While in college Nancy went on a blind date, arranged by a dear friend. On that date she was introduced to Don who would become her friend, companion and husband of 43 years.
While Nancy and Don were dating, he was drafted into the Army and was stationed in Austria. While in Austria, Don recruited Nancy’s father, Gordon, to help Don carry out a successful marriage proposal that covered a distance of over 4600 miles. On Christmas Eve, in Ohio, Gordon got down on one knee and presented Nancy with an engagement ring and proposal prepared by Don.
Nancy and Don settled in Lansing and began a full and adventure-filled life raising their 3 children and sharing their love of all things water and travel. It began with fishing and boating on the Grand River and led them to the Great Lakes, the Caribbean and ultimately Lake Charlevoix.
Nancy who was never one to sit still unless she had a book in her hands was active in many charitable organizations in the Lansing area for over 40 years. She was actively involved with the American Cancer Society, Ingham Regional Medical Foundations, The Junior League of Lansing where she served as president (1972-73). She was a tremendous ambassador for Highfields Inc., serving as president of their board of directors in 1977-78.
When their 3 children were older and were headed off to various colleges and swim meets, Nancy began a new career as a Realtor. She joined Hacker Realty in 1974. Over the course of her career she became one of Hacker’s star agents which included setting a sales record where she closed over One Million Dollars in real estate sales in one month.
Once the children graduated college, Nancy and Don built their dream home on the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix. Nancy was very happy to now look out front and see their sailboat, the Phantom Clam, and not have to be on it.
After Don’s death in 1997, Nancy was again set up by her friends and introduced to Richard “Dick” Masters. For the next 20+ years, Nancy and Dick fished, sailed, traveled and read their way thru many adventures and trips together.
Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, Don, and her eldest son, Steve. She is survived by: her 3 brothers, James Simmons of Seattle, WA, Richard Simmons of New Orleans, LA, and Thomas Simmons of Palo Alto, CA; her 2 children, David of East Lansing, and Susan Mann of Muskegon; daughter-in-law, Sarah Berger of Sacramento, CA; 3 grandchildren, Nicholas Mann of Grand Rapids, Brett Berger of San Francisco, CA, and Brian Berger of Sacramento, CA; and 3 great-grandchildren, Connor, Karlie, and Jace of Grand Rapids.
There will be a memorial service held 3:00 p.m. Sunday, August 25, 2019, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. There will be a visitation Saturday, 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Residential Hospice, The Junior League of Lansing, or Highfields Inc.